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CAW president challenges Van Loan’s trade stats

Ken Lewenza, president of the Canadian Autoworkers union, sent a letter to Trade Minister Peter Van Loan on November 10 correcting false statements the minister made about free trade and the Canadian auto industry. “In no way can it be credibly claimed, as you suggested, that NAFTA has secured Canada’s proportional share of auto production or jobs; our industry has declined dramatically by any  measure,” says the letter from Lewenza, which then attacks the Canada-EU trade talks:

Now your government is pursuing another free trade agreement, this time with Europe. Europe is an important and daunting auto exporter. Yet our automotive trade flows with Europe are precariously unbalanced. Last year we imported $3.7 billion in automotive products from the EU (mostly from Germany), and exported just $174 million (less than one-twentieth as much). Bilateral tariff and NTB [Non-Tariff Barrier] elimination can only make that deficit even wider — because trade is so imbalanced to begin with, and hence even a mutual tariff elimination gives a larger boost to imports than exports.

CAW economist Jim Stanford recently published, through the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a larger account of how CETA’s tariff eliminations would impact the broader Canadian economy. Called Out of Equilibrium, the report estimates job losses of between 28,000 and 150,000 jobs.